ALAN VACCARO / AIPS* in DUBAI: José Valladares wants to be remembered forever for his good works and, in some way, he is benefiting already. But this is not enough. The message he wants as his legacy is clear: “Work, sacrifice and discipline are essential for life to give you opportunities”.
The best illustration of humility is his face when he speaks. He is at peace with his life, with all he has achieved so far, at 51.
His dream is “to be happy, be with my children and my family.”
He adds: “If I have to win or if I have to fight it, it’s welcome. That is the legacy I want to leave to my children. If anyone thinks he’s better than others, life itself will pull you to where you are looking and that is down.
“I want my children, my grandchildren and great grandchildren to look at my picture in the newspaper and proudly say: ‘That’s my dad, my grandfather…'”
The team who are ‘his’ Honduras have already mde history in the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013. Until now, no Honduras U-17 team gain even a point in a World Cup and never had a Honduran national team ever progressed beyond the first group stage – with the chance to keep climbing.
Valladares says: “I always use a theory that you cannot set halfway goals. We have to aspire to the top to see if we can get to mid-table. I can’t aspire to reach a fourth game because then possibly I will not get there.”
This is not only a creed for football but for life for Valladares.
As he says: “I had to fight from far below to reach the top . . . I grew up in a poor family and was a football player but a bit undernourished. I didn’t have the luck of these guys.”
His earnings were not enough to support his family. As a player in Club Olimpico, Valladares also had to work in a bakery, before and after training. Then, almost by accident, he decided to start a coaching career which, at first, “had not been in my mind”.
A friend had invited him to a course and Valladares gained highest marks among 74 students. He says: “If I did well it was because there was something I could do there so I went looking for it.”
But he needed to keep looking for ways to survive financially. He says: “I left the bakery and started as a taxi driver. When I was going or returning from training, I took paying passengers so as to pay the gasoline, for example”.
So all the work and sacrifice ended up bringing results. After success in Nicaragua, the Honduras federation called him to take charge of a youth team.
His face lights up with joy as he says: “Working with my country is so wonderful that I cannot change it for anything.”
Asked to explain this success, he says, without hesitation: “Discipline.”
His parent’s education and a red card when he was only 13 was a ‘new start.’ He adds: “If you don’t control your discipline you may give advantages to the rival, and maybe you end up losing.
“When one is not prepared to lose it can happen – look at what Mike Tyson did to Evander Holyfield. If we believe that we are invincible our act will be wrong, doing things out of the ordinary.”
This is the philosophy he has impressed on his players to keep alive the dream of continuing to write history for their country – against Uzbekistan in Sharjah on Monday.
* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA
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